FAMILY-BASED IMMIGRATION

Only certain family members are eligible for a green card granting the bearer permanent residence in the country:

  • Spouse of a U.S. Citizen  
  • Unmarried Child Under 21 Years of Age of a U.S. Citizen  
  • Orphan adopted abroad by a U.S. Citizen  
  • Orphan to be adopted in the U.S. by a U.S. citizen  
  • Parent of a U.S. Citizen who is at least 21 years old 

 

For immigration, a minor child is anyone under the age of 21 years. Similarly, according to immigration law, a legal adult is anyone 21 years old or older.


For a spouse, who is living in the United States, forms I-130 (Petition for Alien Relative) and I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or to Adjust Status) must be submitted simultaneously. In instances where the spouse is currently living in the overseas United States, you need to submit only the I-130 form. The form will then be sent to a consular for processing in this latter case. Once the individual’s status has been approved or declined, a notification will be sent to that individual.


U.S. citizens can also petition for minor children and adult children to be granted permanent residency by filing the I-130 form. In addition to the form, you must also supply proof of your citizenship. An immigration lawyer can help you assemble the appropriate documents and can ensure no errors appear on the necessary forms.


For siblings, you must be over 21 years of age and you must be able to provide documentation, such as birth certificates, that prove you and your sibling share at least one parent. Additionally, the I-130 form and confirmation of your own U.S. citizenship are required.


How to Bring Parents into the United States for Permanent Residency


Petitioning the government for permanent residency for your parents is more complicated than for other immediate family members.


For a mother living outside of the United States, you will need to complete the I-130 form, you will also be required to submit a copy of your birth certificate. The birth certificate must show your name and your mother’s name. Additional documentation may be required, such as a Certificate of Naturalization if you were not born in the United States.

 
For a father living outside of the United States, the I-130 form must be accompanied by a birth certificate that shows your name and both parents’ names. Additionally, if you were not born in the United States, you must submit a copy of your Certificate of Naturalization or Citizenship or your U.S. passport. Finally, you may need the help of your immigration lawyer with obtaining a copy of your parents’ civil marriage certificate, which must also be submitted.

The Spouse Of A United States Citizen

If you are married to a US citizen, you may be granted a green card without any difficulties, but only after additional review.

 

First Family Preference

You are a child of a US citizen, born elsewhere. As long as you are unmarried and under the age of twenty-one, you are the next easiest class of person for an immigration lawyer to get a green card for.

 

Second Family Preference

Spouses and minor children of lawful permanent residents (LPRs) as well as unmarried children of U.S. citizens, over the age of twenty-one are next in line for being granted a green card.

 

Third Family Preference

Married sons and daughters of US citizens as well as their children of these spouses.  The priority of this case is lower than the previous two, but it is still possible to apply for a green card.

 

Fourth Family Preference

Brothers and sisters of US citizens and their minor children so long as the US citizen is at least twenty-one years or older are the fourth. This case is the last one on the list but you still may apply for a green card.

You may decide or have already decided to live with your soulmate in the country of your citizenship. In the United States, this decision can run into roadblocks if one of you is not an American permanent resident.

 

The basic requirements

  1. Petitioner must be a citizen of the United States (permanent residents and those who have another type of visa cannot apply for a K-1 visa)
  2. You must demonstrate that you are interested in official marriage within the first ninety days of your fiancé’s entry into America.
  3. All your previous marriages must be officially terminated and verified.
  4. You must be financially secured and you must not have any criminal records.

In addition

It may take some time to obtain your K-1 visa, so you must not plan any trips to the USA until you have been officially approved. Also, remember that there will be an in-person interview.

What Is The K-3/K-4 Visa?

 

This visa enables a foreign-born spouse of an American citizen as well as the couple’s alien children, to reside and seek employment in the United States under Nonimmigrant status while they wait for the approval of I-130, Petition for a Foreign Relative.

 

 

K-3/K-4 Visa Eligibility Requirements

 

  1. An applicant must be married to an American citizen.
  2. His or her spouse must have previously filed Form I-130 on his or her behalf.
  3. Children under 21 years old may obtain K-4 status if they are currently married, and are legitimate children of K-3 applicants.

Application process

First of all United States-born petitioner must complete Form I-130 and submit it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once the USCIS processes and accepts Form I-130, the petitioner will be sent Form I-797, which means that USCIS has received the application.

When the petitioner receives Form I-797, he or she will then be required to complete Form I-129 F, Petition For Alien Fiance(e).

Once the petitioner completes Form I-129 F, he or she will submit Form I-797 and Form I-129 F to the USCIS. 

Children`s names must be included on both the I-130 and I-129 F Forms.

When the application is approved, you may apply to the United States Department Of State for K-3/K-4 Visas, respectively.

A person who applied for asylum in the United States can apply for employment authorization in 150 days after his application filling.

 

The Purpose of Form I-765

 

Once you file Form I-765 and get approved for employment, you will be able to apply for a job in the United States.

 

Eligibility for the Form I-765

 

The form contains various questions that you need to answer when applying for the permit. Question 16 will pertain to information regarding your eligibility for a work permit. It contains 8 eligibility sections from which you need to select.

 

Sections:

  • Foreign student
  • Nationality category
  • Family-based non-immigrants
  • Dependents of international organizations, NATO, or diplomatic missions
  • Adjustment of status
  • Refugee/asylee plus their children and spouses
  • Employment-based non-immigrants
  • Other categories

 

If you have lost your EAD or you want to renew it, you are eligible to file Form I-765. You are not eligible for filing Form I-765 if you get in any of the following categories:

  • Conditional residency
  • Lawful permanent residency
  • Non-immigrant with special authorization for employment via form 8 CFR 274a.12(b)

 

You can submit the form in two ways – by mail or e-filing.

It is a must-have document for all potential immigrants, issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) with the purpose to allow a person to travel (leave and safely return to the U.S.) while their immigration application is pending.

 

Eligibility for Advance Parole

Advance parole is necessary for the U.S. aliens with the following:

  • Pending adjustment status
  • Asylee status
  • Family Unity Program benefits
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • Pending asylum application status

 

Any potential immigrant with a valid reason to travel out of the United States temporarily is also eligible for advance parole.

Non-immigrants may not apply for this document if they:

  • Reside in the United States with invalid immigration status
  • They earn with a private bill
  • Are foreigners on exchange under the requirements of residence
  • Are under removal proceedings

Evidence Required to Apply for Advance Parole

Whether the applicant hires the immigration attorney or not, the application typically involves filing a duly completed USCIS Form I-131 with a local USCIS office.

  • Two photographs of the applicant are required in case of presence in the United States at the time of application.
  • Applicant’s copy of the official identity document, such as a permanent resident card, driver’s license, or passport identity page. A valid copy(photo) must contain official names, date of birth, and photo of the applicant.

Applicants with a pending adjustment of status (I-485) must also submit an I-797C Notice of Action.

To get more detailed and proficient information hire the services of an immigration lawyer.

Unfortunately, many immigrants, particularly those who are unauthorized, are prone to violence, exploitation, and abuse at home or work.

Immigration Services provides guidance and status of applications filed by Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) self-petitioners in the US without proper documentation.

It is important to note that despite the program being named the Violence Against Women Act and developed to protect the female members of the society, men can apply under this program as well.

The petition may be applied by: the victim of violence, child abuse, or elder abuse.

Also, spouses who are battered, their children under 21 years (unmarried), and a parent who has been abused by his or her US citizen, and at least 21 years of age at the time of petition.

A successful VAWA petition provides the applicant with permanent residency, a work permit, and cancellation for removal. Remember, petitions (VAWA) are available only upon proof of abuse. Reliable evidence is expected. The petition may not be supported by a police report.

Victims of abuse, who are in removal (deportation proceedings), may apply for cancelation of removal under VAWA rights. It is a possible case only if the petitioner faces violence during the proceedings.

VAWA petitions take less than 90 days for adjudication. The USCIS provides petitioners 33 days for an appeal if their initial petitions are denied.

You may receive a green card only after USCIS reviews all documentation upon receipt and then schedules an interview with the immigration officer. The goal of the interview is to determine that the marriage was consummated in a good faith and not only for the immigration benefits. Then you will obtain your GREEN CARD (otherwise known as a temporary green card). It is used for temporary 2-year residence in the United States.

Before the expiration of 2 years, the couple must apply to have conditions removed and request permanent documents to be issued to the spouse. This is a joint application and requires the help of the spouse to be considered for permanent residency. The extensive evidence of a good faith marriage should be submitted with the application to remove conditions even if it was submitted before or at the initial interview. The best way to collect the necessary proof is to hire a proficient immigration lawyer.

Conditional Green Card

When you are legally married to a US citizen, you may receive a temporary 2-year residence in the United States.

If your marriage has been terminated due to a divorce or legal separation, you can file to have the green card conditions removed with evidence submitted.

Types of Evidence

Now you need to prove that the divorce wasn`t caused by your fault. You need to submit evidence to the USCIS.

Some examples of evidence:

  • Marriage Counseling – This should include documents of the counseling sessions that detail your attempt to reconcile with your ex-spouse.

 

  • Your ex-spouse’s fault –this pertains to a divorce caused by imprisonment, alleged adultery, battery, etc. In this case, you have to prepare the evidence that includes affidavits from the courts or the parties in your life who are familiar with the situation (friends, family, employers, landlords, medical providers, etc.)

 

  • No-fault Divorce – This includes disagreements related to unacceptable differences, such as finances, child-rearing, etс.

Other types of evidence include photos of you and your ex-spouse, all media, and forms of communication between you and your ex-spouse. You should also provide copies of legal documents that list you as the emergency contact or beneficiary for your ex-spouse.

An I-601 Waiver is a form used in certain situations by immigrants who are applying for a green card and are denied for the reasons discussed below. It can also be used when an immigrant wants to apply for an immigrant benefit, they may not be immediately qualified to receive it.

Misrepresentation

An immigrant will not be admitted into the United States if it is proven they intentionally lied or misrepresented themselves about a significant item when they tried to obtain an immigrant visa or admission in the United States.

Unlawful Presence

If a foreign national has unlawfully resided in the United States for more than 180 days and voluntarily left the country before removal proceedings were started against them – they won`t be able to come to the US for three year period. These individuals can apply for a waiver.

Basis For Waiver

By submitting an I-601 waiver application, an immigrant is trying to show they have a relative who is a legal citizen of the United States or a permanent resident and this resident will experience extreme difficulties if the immigrant is denied entry into the United States or removed from the country. Or the entire family is being forced to relocate overseas.

Extreme Hardship Proof

An immigrant can provide a statement about the difficult conditions in their home country and the struggles other relatives would experience if forced to leave the United States. Newspaper articles, official reports as well as letters from experts, and more can be submitted. They can also provide a statement describing the financial difficulties the relative would experience without them. This could be done with bank statements, wage statements, property deeds, and more.

Over 70 countries are recognized by the United States as part of the Hague Adoption Convention. As such, inter-country adoptions among participating countries follow the Hague Adoption process.

The Process

  1. The first step is choosing a Hague-accredited Adoptive Services Provider (ASP). It is highly recommended to hire an immigration attorney.
  2. Home studying. USCIS is not directly responsible for home studies, so you will need to obtain one from someone who is authorized to complete Hague Adoption home studies.
  3. File Form I-800A with USCIS to determine your suitability for inter-country adoption. This needs to be done before adopting a child or accepting a placement to determine suitability.
  4. After your application has been approved, work with your ASP to get an adoption placement.
  5. File Form I-800 (sometimes called a “petition”) with USCIS to determine the specific child’s eligibility for inter-country adoption and immigration.
  6. After provisional approval of the I-800, you can obtain custody of the child to adopt them in the US.
  7. Secure an immigrant visa for your child.
  8. Bring the child into the United States using an immigration visa.

Nowadays, 90 countries are members of the Convention. However, individuals can adopt children from countries that are not members of the Convention (non-convention countries). Hiring a professional attorney is recommended.

Here is some information about adoption from non-convention countries:

Requirements for Adoptive Parents

Individuals need to prove that they can take care of the child. They must also confirm that they interacted with the child in a foreign country before the adoption. If they are going to adopt the child in the United States, they should receive permission to bring the child out of the non-convention country.

Requirements for Adopted Children

To be eligible for adoption, a child must be an orphan. The child must be younger than 16 years old. If parents already adopted a sibling, the child can be at least 18 years old.

Home Study

USCIS requires a licensed professional to complete a home study. This document proves that the home meets the standards of the Department of Homeland Security regulations.

Bringing Adopted Children to the United States

You will need to apply for the child’s visa through the United States embassy or consulate.

If the adoption occurred in a non-convention country, the child will receive an IR-3 immigrant visa.

 If you plan to adopt the child in the United States, the child will get an IR-4 visa.